Late last month, Dayton Power and Light Company (DP&L) filed a settlement with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to invest $249 million into grid modernization and other projects. The four-year plan includes $5.1 million in electric vehicle charging infrastructure rebates and has been supported by diverse stakeholders such as the City of Dayton, utility regulators, consumers, and several environmental groups in the state.
The extensive plan is expected to significantly enhance DP&L’s grid reliability and improve its customer experience. The company will upgrade its equipment to an advanced metering infrastructure. New “smart meters” will allow customers more control over their power consumption and will communicate with the broader system to effectively manage overall demand.
In his direct testimony to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Thomas Tatham of AES, DP&L’s parent company, said, “[the smart grid platform] will provide the opportunity for energy innovations to develop as new technologies progress such as electric vehicles, energy storage, smart appliances and distributed generation resources, all of which will transform the customer electric experience.”
70% of the rebates in the program will go towards “level 2” charging projects. Half of these funds will be directed to workplace charging, 30% will go towards public level 2 stations, and the remaining 20% will cover residential charger installations. DP&L hopes that focusing attention on workplace charging will help change perceptions of a lack of charging availability in its service area. Most electric vehicles can fully recharge well within an 8-hour workday when connected to a level 2 charger.
DP&L will direct the remaining 30% of rebate funds to public “direct current fast chargers” (DCFC). Fast chargers are a crucial tool in combatting range anxiety—the fear of your electric vehicle losing power without access to a charging station. At least 30% of the funds for fast chargers will go towards establishing electric vehicle corridors with guidance from the Federal Highway Administration. With most electric vehicles able to receive a full charge from a DCFC in about 30 minutes, these new chargers will expand electric car drivers’ ability to travel between cities. It is currently unclear whether these chargers will support intracity ride- and carshare electrification, another critical use case for DCFC.
If approved, DP&L will be the second investor-owned utility in Ohio to offer electric vehicle charging rebates, following the success of the AEP Ohio pilot. The DP&L settlement, while similar to the AEP Ohio pilot, builds on important lessons learned from the previous program, including offering the same level of reimbursement to all types of sites.